India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' on Tuesday successfully completed air-to-air close combat missile firing tests, ahead of its clearance for induction into the IAF.
The tests for firing of R-73 missiles took place at the INS Hansa naval air base in Goa where the LCA detachment is currently based as part of the last phase of its flight trials, the DRDO said.
"As a run up to the impending achieving of Initiation Operational Clearance (IOC) and release to service, a Tejas detachment has been operating from INS Hansa in Goa, conducting the last phase of flight trials.
"One of the main objectives of the current phase of flight trials was clearing the firing envelope of air-to-air close combat missile from the Tejas," a DRDO statement said.
The R-73 missile, which is the chosen air-to-air close combat missile for supersonic Tejas, is integrated with the on-board Digital Stores Management System (SMS) and Open Architecture Mission and Display Computer.
The missile selection is performed from the high resolution Multi Function Display (MFD) pages integrated with the sophisticated on-board avionics. All these equipment form the IOC standard of avionics, it said.
The test-firing was done from the Tejas LSP-4 aircraft piloted by Group Captain George Thomas, Group Director (Flight Test Operations) of the National Flight Test Centre at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
The test aircraft was accompanied by a chase Tejas piloted by Group Captain Suneet Krishna. This critical test was closely monitored and controlled by Test Director Wing Commander Toffeen, supported by safety pilot Group Captain (retired) R R Tyagi from the mobile telemetry positioned at the test location.
The data and video from the test aircraft were also available at the base station in Bangalore through a dedicated fibre optic link set up for this purpose, the statement said.
"This flight test demonstrated important requirements of the user like safe separation of the missile from the test aircraft, no missile plume-effect on the engine operation, avionics and weapon system functionality and safety interlocks, aircraft handling quality assessment during missile release, and effect of missile plume on the composite structure," DRDO officials said.
More firings of the missile are planned during the current week leading to close combat missile firing envelope clearance for the Tejas.